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Fact vs Fiction: Clearly Up Acne-Related Myths

By Erika Luceri-Johnson

If you’ve done your research, you’re probably familiar with the most frequent causes of acne. Chances are, however, that you’ve also picked up some potentially harmful misconceptions along the way. When it comes to skincare, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction — so we’ve done it for you! Here are seven of the most common acne-related myths, busted.

1. You Don’t Have to Watch What You Eat

Some people may identify individual foods that aggravate acne. Studies show that high glycemic index foods (high sugar foods or foods that quickly turn into sugar) may aggravate acne. Surprisingly, low fat (skim milk) but not higher fat (whole milk) may worsen acne in some people.  If you eat greasy food, make sure not to touch your face — otherwise you’ll clog your pores with excess oil.

2. Washing Or Scrubbing Your Face Clears Up Breakouts

Washing your face twice a day is a must for battling blemishes, but over-washing can actually worsen acne. If you wash too frequently or too aggressively, you risk drying out your skin to such an extent that it triggers the production of even more pore-clogging oil.

3. Only Teens Get Acne

While acne is typically associated with those awkward teenage years, it’s not uncommon for adults to suffer from frequent breakouts. According to the International Dermal Institute, “clinical studies indicate that between 40 and 55% of the adult population age 20-40 are diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin”.

4. The Sun Will Help Get Rid of Acne

While a small amount of sun exposure may temporarily help acne, according to, overexposure will only irritate skin and exacerbate symptoms. Since all the sun does is help dry out your skin, and not prevent new pimples, a benzoyl peroxide solution would probably be a better long-term fix.

5. It’s Okay to Pop Your Pimples

While technically, extraction is a viable form of treatment, the fact of the matter is that most people don’t pop their pimples in sterile conditions. So hands off — it’s much better to go to your local aesthetician and have your zit zapped properly.

6. Dirt Causes Blackheads

While blackheads might look like little flecks of dirt caught up in your pores, appearances can be deceiving. It’s just the usual combination of bacteria, dead skin cells, and excess oil that we’ve all come to know (if not love).

7. Stronger Products Are More Effective

By all means, go for that 10% benzoyl peroxide wash — but only if your skin is tough enough to take it. As mentioned above, overdrying skin can lead to irritation, exacerbating pre-existing acne and potentially causing long-term damage.

Looking for help with your acne? Join ClearlyDerm’s Virtual Acne Program for personalized treatments without the hassle of an in-office visit.

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